Archives for category: Training Skills

220 Magazine tweeted this week with a link to one of their older articles by Darren Smith about the importance of using your core in swimming (with some good tips that are worth re-reading).  I’ve spoken about this before in a previous post Cutting to the Core and thought it would be a good time to focus on this again.

Using your core is only really effective if you have a good anchor with a high-elbow catch but once you have that high-elbow a strong rotation from your core can make a massive difference in the power you can generate for much less effort.  So this week we will be some more work to focus on the your core by doing some of the drills Chloe Sutton recommended so please do watch her video again here and especially the hip-connector drill, which we haven’t done before.

After the drills we will be doing the ratchet set.  This type of set is a great one to allow you to practise using your core in the first half of the set, swimming with maximal efficiency, so saving some energy for the tighter turnaround times at the end!

See you Saturday!

Rob

It’s time for our USRPT main set of fast 50s again this week.  Read my previous post if you want a reminder on how best to tackle this set to get the most from it.  Also, as it’s the Great East Swim this week I will only be around to coach the 7am session but Chrissie has kindly offered to coach the 8am session.  The session is all mine, though, so don’t blame Chrissie!

See you Saturday,

Rob

This week we will be doing what I call the Brownlee main set of 100s, so-called as the Brownlees say it is one of the favourite swim sets, which we haven’t done for a long time.  It’s very simple and consists of 15 x 100s, swum 1-5 progressively with the 4th 100 being at race pace and the 5th one faster than race pace.  I really like it as contains a little bit of everything we like in a good triathlon main set – it’s specific to our typical race distance of 1,500m, includes a mix of different paced swimming and is great for race-pace endurance.

To do it well make sure you pace yourself at the start so you can really pick up the pace as you go through the set.  And try and pick up the pace as you would when doing a “golf stroke” set by increasing your stroke rate but keeping the same number of strokes per length.

See you Saturday,

Rob

Well done to everyone for your efforts last week during the longer sessions.  And special kudos to Alex, Simon and Edda who did a the full 3 hours (I hope I didn’t miss anyone else that did the full monty)!  This week is back to normal with our 7-8 and 8-9:15am sessions and we will be doing some aerobic paced 150s as the main set.

For technique this week we will be working on stroke rate after several weeks of focusing on the high-elbow underwater pull with a pause.  This is especially important when swimming in open water where a slightly higher stroke rate, and straighter-arm recovery, is often more effective (and efficient) to help overcome the additional resistance in the shoulders from the wetsuit.  So this week there will be a chance to practice it in the pool with some head-up front crawl and straight-arm recovery drills.  Try and do these drills to increase the stroke rate above the water (and not worrying about how pretty or careful your hand-entry is) but keeping that good high-elbow underwater pull we have been working on over the last few weeks.

See you tomorrow,

Rob

After the intensity of the swims over the last two weeks we’re going to mix it up a bit this week with a triathlon swimmer’s equivalent of cross-training – some different strokes!  There will still be plenty of front crawl – all at an aerobic pace so giving you more time to think about your technique – but with some medley swims thrown into the main set.

I do think swimming different strokes every once in a while is good for a number of reasons.  Firstly, it helps you become a more-rounded swimmer by helping develop water skills you don’t get from just swimming front crawl.  Also, different strokes really do work different muscles much better and Butterfly, especially, is a really good work-out for your core.  And swimming different strokes is fun, too, and gives you a break from the same-old strokes each week.

I know many of you do find Butterfly difficult so please just give it a try.  Butterfly is the hardest stroke for pretty much everyone and the secret to making it easier is to get the dolphin action by really diving under the water on each stroke and letting your hips rise.  One of the most effective ways of doing this is to throw your head down quickly after breathing as the momentum of your head will help with the diving down action.  If you are really struggling try just doing single-arm butterfly and getting the rhythm that way first.

Next week we have the pool for 3 hours as the juniors are away at Grafham so if you are around look forward to a longer session!

See you Saturday,

Rob

Well done for all your efforts last week on the USRPT 50s.  It was good to see some good times from those pushing the pace and also some great consistency from those swimming at a more comfortable pace in preparation for racing on Sunday.

This week we will keep pushing the pace with some fast 100s.  I’d like you to aim to swim them at double your USRPT 50 pace plus 3-5 seconds.  So, if you were swimming each 50 last week in 50 seconds, I’d like you to aim for 1:43-1:45 for each 100 this week.  There will be a reasonable amount of rest plus a few Brucey Bonus rests to ensure you can keep the pace high.  To help keep the pace going throughout the 100 please focus on the second half of each 100 and think about the “Hinge” (2) of your 1-2-3 on each stroke to ensure you are maintaining your strong catch.

See you Saturday,

Rob

This week we will be doing the set of fast 50s as USRPT (Ultra Short Race Pace Training).  This can be swum in a couple of different ways.

The first way is to swim it at a comfortable pace and focus on good pacing and technique.  As the turnaround times are comfortable this is very possible and will give you a comfortably-paced session that is not too taxing.  This is ideal if you have a race coming up, you are coming back from injury or just need a low intensity session.

The other way is to swim it at an unsustainably fast pace that means you will need to miss out at least 2 of the 50s to maintain your times.  This is how the set is intended to be swum and designed to give you the benefit from a lot of faster than race pace swimming and helps you work on maintaining your technique and speed while fatigued.  Please read my previous post on the details of how to swim it this way here.

I am very happy with whichever way you decide to tackle this session as you know what sort of session is best for you at this stage of the season.  My only request is that you put yourself in the right position in the correct lane (with everyone swimming 5s intervals and getting 20-25s rest) to make sure everyone can get the right workout we want from this session.

Thanks and see you Saturday!

Rob

Race season is now almost upon us and I know the Basildon Aquathlon on Sunday is the first race of 2017 incorporating a swim for some of us (myself included).  So I thought it would be worth mentioning a few things about the race season and what this means for our Saturday Swimming sessions.

Firstly, I will state the obvious fact that the race season is a long one for many of us with 6 months or more of triathlons, aquathlons and open water swims.  And most of us will be doing different races over this period so it is not possible in a shared swimming session to structure the sessions around a taper for a single big race.  Instead I would expect you to plan your own season and swim the Saturday sessions according to your own training plan.  If that means taking a session a bit easier as part of race preparation that is fine by me.  Please just be considerate to your other lane members and don’t disrupt the set by dropping out part way through to alter everyone elses rest interval or swimming at a pace that means you will get in the way of others.

We have had a good series of sessions since Christmas with an increasing amount of faster swims to get you ready for race pace swimming.  And the time trials have demonstrated a measurable improvement for many of you over the Winter so thank you for all of your efforts.  Over the Spring and Summer we will continue with a mix of fast swims and some technique maintenance to help you keep that improvement in race pace swimming going throughout the season.

Finally, if you want some more advice of planning your race season I would recommend the recent Swim Smooth Blog post about this.  I especially like the comment about getting a good balance between intensity and recovery and using races as a high intentity training session where appropriate.

This week we will be doing some faster 100s with a longer recovery than normal, meaning you should be swimming faster than your 400m race pace and trying to maintain the maximum possible speed to the end of the set.  I will be practising a little of what I am preaching by swimming at a slightly slower pace – actually on my 400m race pace – to help me prepare for the Basildon Aquathlon.  If you are not racing, though, you don’t have a good excuse!

See you Saturday!

Rob

We will be doing time trials again this week as we follow the usual schedule through the Winter of doing it every 2 months.  I know some of you love time trials and others hate them but I do genuinely believe everyone can learn and benefit from them.  You can use the learning suggestions I talked about last time (Time Trials – What do you want to learn?) or focus instead on an aspect of technique we’ve been working on and see what difference that makes to your times, splits, stroke rates or just how it feels.

It has been great to hear how much some of you have found the breathing drills we did last week.  I know some of you are still finding it hard, though, to keep one goggle in the water and don’t yet have confidence that it is possible to keep a goggle in the water and still breathe effectively.  So please watch another of Chloe Sutton’s videos below if you want to see why it is possible if you keep your head in the correct position.

So if you are unsure about whether or not to do the time trials this week why not come along and focus on the breathing instead as an experiment and see what effect it has?

See you Saturday,

Rob

This week week we will be doing some focus on breathing drills and the Will Clarke set of fast and steady 50s to provide some more speed work.  Key things to think about:

  • Please watch the video I posted last week from Chloe Sutton about how to breath well in front crawl.  You will have chance in the technique set this week just to focus on quick breathing and keeping one goggle in the water as she demonstrates really well in her video.  A quick breath will also help you maintain a good tempo with a quick stroke rate.
  • Please try and make sure you get a good pace variation in the 50s, even when the turnaround is tight, to get the most from the Will Clarke set of 50s.  Re-read my previous post on this for some ideas to help

See you all Saturday!

Rob

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